I was talking to Jack this afternoon, asking him some questions about what he thinks about his autism and whether I could share it here for the This is Autism flashblog. He was very eager to share with you and painted a verbal picture many of you know, that of a loving, happy boy who loves video games and his brothers.*
Then I asked him how he felt about his autism.
“Um, good,” he said without hesitation.
There is a lot to say about Jack and a lot to say about his autism, but this piece is what I want to share today—the part that is confident that every part of him is good, the part that doesn’t know the picture of kids like him that Autism Speaks is trying to paint with messages like their Call to Action that went out last week.
Honestly, I don’t think it would ever even occur to Jack to say that his autism is a bad thing. He hasn’t learned that it makes him better than or less than anyone else, but he does know a lot of autistic people and he thinks they are pretty cool, which makes him believe that autism is all right.
Here’s the thing: It matters how you feel about your child’s autism, but it matters far more how he or she feels about it. However you feel, I believe your kid should think that every part of himself is awesome, and as his or her parent, it is your job to make sure that this is the case. There are a lot of things I second guess myself about in terms of my parenting, but this? I know I’m doing this part right.
Jack feels good about his autism and that means Jack feels good about himself. Rock on, Jack. This is his autism and he feels good about it.
* Jack’s response to what he wanted to tell you about his autism: “This is Jack. He likes to pretend to launch doomsday missiles and plays with his brothers. He has three cats who are not very scared of him and who purr. He is all interested in the Transformers games and Badland. This is autism. P.S. Do you love kittens?”